In rotation: 3/25/19

Tokyo, JP | Tower Records goes all in on the vinyl trend with its new store, Tower Vinyl: Last year proved to be a pivotal one for streaming music in Japan. According to a report by the Recording Industry Association of Japan, 2018 saw plays via platforms such as YouTube, Apple Music and Spotify overtake digital downloads. This would be a great piece of evidence for futurists trying to argue that the Japanese music market is actually catching up to where most other nations are today. But mucking that up is the total lack of info regarding physical sales, a still-major slice of the proverbial pie. And recent changes only underline how important they are, even as different developments point toward other directions. Tower Records opened Tower Vinyl on the 10th floor of its Shinjuku store on March 21. The space, once reserved for pop-up events, now houses 70,000 records, according to the company, with more than half being secondhand.

Orlando, FL | Vinyl Record Stores in Orlando: The evolution of music has spun around like a record now that listening to tracks on vinyl is back on trend. Buying your albums in record form is a hipster movement we can totally support. Everyone remembers their first album. Whether it was a record, eight-track, cassette tape, or CD, before iTunes and Google Play Music, purchasing your first album was a right of passage. Flip through some vinyl and get lost inside a few of these Vinyl Record Stores in Orlando. Foundation College Park: One of the newer stores on the Orlando record store scene, this little shop located in College Park is owned by two brothers who really love their music and love sharing it with their customers. They also have vintage clothing for sale. Park Ave CDs: We were founded on music and will forever be music lovers. We’re an independent record shop and we’re independent minded. We love our home in Orlando and we want to share it with everyone, especially you.

UK | A stark warning warning for record labels: UK industry revenues fell after inflation in 2018: Uh oh. After a run of positive news for the recorded music industry of late comes a reminder today (March 21) that this business can still deliver some troubling figures now and again. In this case, it’s the trade revenues (ie. wholesale cash going to labels and artists) of the UK recorded music industry for 2018, which have just been announced by local trade body the BPI. The headline stat: total revenues delivered to record labels and artists across all formats in the market grew by just 3.1% in the year, up from £839.5m to £865.5m. That represented a significant slowdown from the 10.6% rise seen in the prior 12 months. And to make matters worse: according to the Bank Of England, annual inflation stood at 3.3% in 2018. This means that, with inflation factored in, that £839.5m in 2017 trade revenue was actually worth the equivalent of £867.5m in 2018 – ie. more than the £865.5m generated by the business last year.

Rewind: audio cassette tapes launch a comeback tour: Music tapes unofficially ‘died’ in the 2000s, but fast forward nearly 20 years and sales are on the rise. The humble cassette – that tiny little plastic rectangle containing the home-made mixtapes of yesteryear – is back, joining vinyl as a darling of audiophiles who miss side A and side B. But as top musicians including Ariana Grande and Justin Bieber release their music on tape and demand continues to climb, the niche revival has faced a global shortage of music-quality magnetic tape needed for production. Now, two facilities – one in the American Midwest and the other in western France – have stepped in to meet the need. “It’s a good place to be – there’s plenty of business for both of us,” said Steve Stepp, who founded the National Audio Company in Springfield, Missouri with his father 50 years ago. He said that around 2000 the “imperial hegemony of the CD” cut his business, which stayed alive as a major manufacturer of books on tape that remained popular.

IE | New hit record: Vinyl and Spotify help reverse music industry decline: Streaming platforms such as Spotify are being credited with reversing the downward plunge in music industry sales. While it has not replaced the money machine that compact discs represented, for the first time this decade the industry in the United States posted an increase in income for two consecutive years (2016 and 2017), and likely a third in 2018. This is according to a paper from the World Economic Forum (WEF). In Ireland, the Irish Music Rights Organisation (IMRO) is responsible for the protection, promotion and development of the collection and distribution of music royalties. Music-users such as broadcasters, venues and businesses must pay for their use of copyright music by way of a blanket licence fee to the organisation. A 2017 report from the IMRO found that digital revenues in Ireland (€16.3m) surpassed physical revenues (€16m) for the first time.

Recordings by Cyndi Lauper, Jay-Z, EW&F, Neil Diamond, 21 More Added To National Recording Registry: The new recordings to the National Recording Registry bring the total number of titles on the registry to 525, a small part of the Library’s vast recorded-sound collection of nearly 3 million items. The sound recordings recently named to the registry showcase works across multiple genres, including blues, children’s recordings, classical, comedy, country, radio, jazz, pop, hip-hop, rhythm and blues, Latin and Broadway. The spoken-word and musical recordings span a century from 1901 to 2001. The oldest recorded sounds on the 2018 registry are 20 cylinders of the earliest-known recordings of Yiddish songs (1901-1905) and the most contemporary recording is hip-hop mogul Jay-Z’s 2001 album “The Blueprint,” which solidified his reputation as one of the greatest rappers in music

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